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branch lettuce

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branch lettuce n chiefly eTN, wNC Cf mountain lettuce n

Usu a lettuce saxifrage n (here: Micranthes micranthidifolia), but occas a golden saxifrage n (here: Chrysosplenium americanum).
1894 Independent 1 Nov 5 eTN, For salad “branch lettuce” (Saxifraga erosa) [=Micranthes micranthidifolia] is good enough to satisfy an epicure. 1899 U.S. Comm. Fish & Fisheries Rept. Comm. for 1897–1898 24.lxix neTN, The principal aquatic plant known in this region is the so-called branch lettuce, which spreads its roots under the shallow water or in wet mud. This remains green throughout the winter. 1951 PADS 15.12 nwNC, Chrysosplenium americanum Schweinitz.—Branch lettuce. 1953 PADS 19.9 wNC, Branch lettuce. . . A wild plant that grows in certain areas of the mountains of North Carolina. It is a saxifrage (Chrysosplenium americanus). Some of the natives eat it as one ordinarily eats lettuce, but the majority “wilt” . . it. 1956 in 1980 Still Run for Elbertas 80 eKY, Wild greens spelled the pintos and rabbit. We ate branch lettuce and ragged breeches and bird’s-toe and swamp mustard. And again the beans and rabbit when the plants toughened. 1966 DARE (Qu. BB50d, Favorite spring tonics) Inf NC30, Ramps (wild onions), branch lettuce, . . sassafras tea. 1994 Appalachian Jrl. 22.398, Yeah, the wild branch lettuce. It grows on the branches high in the coves. You pick it up. It’s good. . . It’s a whole lot like tame lettuce except it grows wild. 2010 in 2016 DARE File—Internet, Branch Lettuce, Saxifraga micranthidifolia, is a beautiful wild green here in the mountains of Appalachia. 2011 Ibid wNC, One of the things that I’ve been anticipating since returning to the mountains is the arrival of branch lettuce. It’s a wild lettuce that grows along mountain streams. . . The season, which is quite short, has just begun—the leaves are between two and five inches long and are really tender. I prefer eating them fresh in a salad with a bit of dressing. You can also drizzle hot bacon grease over the wilted leaves. I’ve never tried it, but it’s the way a lot of mountain people prefer it.
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